Play Begins With Suspended Game, Ends With Gamecock Win …
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Game 6: Florida 3-5-1 def. Vanderbilt 1-4-2
Final Stats | FL Recap | Vandy Recap
After a 14-hour delay that started shortly after 8:00 p.m. local time, Florida and Vanderbilt resumed their game minutes after 10:00 a.m. Tuesday morning at TD Ameritrade Park.
The game picked up with two outs and nobody on, with Vanderbilt batting in the bottom of the sixth and Florida leading 3-1. Steven Rodriguez – who had entered the game in relief of Karsten Whitsen in the fifth inning Monday night – promptely struck out Jason Esposito to end the inning. Rodriguez (4-2) ultimately earned the win, after striking out six of the 10 batters he faced for a new career-high K total.
Reliever Will Clinard opened the seventh inning on the hill for the Commodores in relief of starter Grayson Garvin, who fanned nine batters in six innings but allowed three earned runs on Preston Tucker‘s 4th-inning home run that cleared the rightfield bullpen. Garvin (13-2) suffered the loss. Tucker’s 15th long ball of the season is onlythe second home run through six games of the 2011 CWS (Vanderbilt’s Connor Harrell homered Saturday for the other).
The teams combined to strike out 23 times (12 by Commodore batters and 11 for the Gators).
SEC player of the year Mike Zunino of Florida went 1-for-3 with a run scored, against the SEC pitcher of the year Garvin. Zunino was on base when Tucker homered.
A total of 19 batters came to the plate Tuesday morning to face Clinard, fellow Vanderbilt reliever Corey Williams and Florida’s Rodriguez. Only two of those 19 reached base, on a pair of walks (one for each team).
Attendance for this game was 20,182, for a six-game total of 132,748 (avg, of 22,125). Fans were allowed into the final three innings of the game Tuesday morning without a ticket.
CLICK HERE to read more about this game and the North Carolina-Texas game in our Day-3 Notebook.
– Quotable –
“It was actually a slider that I hung. Good Hitters, that’s what they do. He should have hit that where he hit it. It was kid of a tail of one pitch. I actually thought I pitched better yesterday than I pitched in about a month, but it was one swing.” – Vanderbilt starter Grayson Garvin, talking about the pitch Florida’s Preston Tucker hit for the Gators’ only offense in the game.
“He doesn’t pitch like a freshman. He’s a big, strong kid. He throws a big, heavy ball like he’s throwing bowling balls to the plate and he keeps coming. … You know, he’s a first-rounder [2010 MLB draft]. You’re not supposed to keep kids like that, and they did. That’s why Florida’s pretty good.” – Commodore head coach Tim Corbin on Florida freshman pitcher Karsten Whitson, who turned down first-round draft pick money to attend Florida.
Game 7: Cal 7-9-1 elim. Texas A&M 3-10-2
Final Stats | Cal Recap | A&M Recap
The team that itself was eliminated for a time last fall staved off elimination at the 2011 College World Series, when Cal beat Texas A&M 7-3 Tuesday afternoon in Omaha.
The Golden Bear program was (infamously) set to be cut due to school budgetary restraints last September, but thanks to fundraising efforts it was spared this past spring. Tough times have brought the team together in its miraculous run to the CWS.
Meanwhile, Texas A&M went 0-2 and was eliminated in its first trip to Omaha since 1999.
Texas A&M scored first on Adam Smith‘s solo home run in the 4th inning over the left field, his seventh homer of the year. Aggies starter Michael Wacha didn’t allow a hit until the top of the 5th, when Darrel Matthews singled following an error that allowed Ben Bunting to reach safely to start the inning. An RBI single by Derek Campbell, a sac bunt by leadoff man Austin Booker and a sac fly by Tony Renda gave Cal a 3-1 lead and their first lead of any kind in two games in Omaha.
Wacha (9-4) surrendered seven runs, four earned, on nine hits in 6.2 innings. He walked two and struck out five in the loss.
The Golden Bears scored three more times in the 6th and added another run in the 7th to take a 7-1 lead before A&M pushed across two runs in the bottom of the frame to make it 7-3. Through seven games, Cal and Florida are the only teams to score runs in three consecutive innings.
Golden Bears starter Kyle Porter (6-0) allowed three earned runs in six innings. He struck out four and walked two.
Six different Cal players had at least one RBI in the game, with second baseman Derek Campbell leading the way with two.
The win is Cal’s first at the College World Series since 1980. The team is playing in its first CWS since 1992.
The Golden Bears next will face the loser of the Virginia-South Carolina game, on Thursday night.
Cal head coach David Esquer was named the NCBWA’s National Coach of the Year prior to the game today.
– Quotable –
“I’m not disappointed in anybody. I’m disappointed for our guys that they didn’t play hard. There’s not a guy in our dugout that doesn’t wish we hadn’t played better collectively. Dave Esquer‘s done an amzing job this year. He’s talking about his team and the things he’s gone through. He definitely deserves coach-of-the-year nomination for being the rock in the storm.” – Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress
“I’m happy our guys kind of grinded it out, because that’s kind of how we do it. We don’t do it easy. … I thought we were a little too excited trying to make something happen that really wasn’t there and didn’t let the game come to us. … The whole day’s been amazing. You can’t be a good coach without good players – if our players can come out here and perform like they did today under elimination circumstances. Thankfully for us, one of our rallying clauses is to try to be as loose as possible and that serves us well in big moments.” – Cal head coach Dave Esquer
Game 8: South Carolina 7-13-0 def. Virginia 1-5-3
Final Stats | SC Recap | VA Recap
Star outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. was in the lineup for only the second time in the past two months. He batted from the cleanup spot, after batting 9th in South Carolina’s win over Texas A&M on Sunday, and got the scoring started with a 1st-inning RBI double. It was the first of three Gamecocks runs in the frame. Bradley finished the game with two hits and an RBI.
South Carolina added another run in the 3rd, two more in the 4th and a run in the 7th on an RBI single by Christian Walker. The first baseman batted 2-for-5 and led his team with two RBIs.
South Carolina’s 3-4-5-6 batters combined to hit above .500 (10-for-19) with four runs scored and five RBIs. The team reached base in every inning but the 6th. Scott Wingo was the only Gamecocks starter without a hit or walk.
Virginia scored its only run when John Hicks hit a solo homer to left field in the bottom of the 4th. It’s the eighth homer of the year for the catcher but only the fourth home run hit through eight games in this CWS.
South Carolina starter Colby Holmes (7-3) struck out seven in 4.1 innings to match his career high. Sidearm reliever John Taylor (7-1) set a career high with his 4.1-inning outing. His previous high was a 4.0-inning effort against Mississippi State on April 24. Holmes (19) and Taylor (13) combined to face only 32 batters – six over the minimum.
Virginia starter Will Roberts (11-2) was touched for all six runs in only 3.1 innings. A pair of Cavaliers errors led to three unearned runs.
South Carolina played stellar defense all night. The Gamecocks have committed only one error in their two CWS games.
Florida State (12) and Georgia Tech (10; 9) are the only teams to score more than seven runs against Virginia this season.
Virginia has a rematch with California in Thursday night’s elimination game. South Carolina faces the winner of that game on Friday.
Tonight’s game marked the first time the two programs have met in the CWS.
South Carolina’s win makes the SEC 5-1 during the 2011 CWS. Florida is 2-0 as well, while Vanderbilt (1-1) suffered its first loss earlier today.
The start of the game was delayed 68 minutes by rain.
The loss is jonly the 11th of the year for Virginia (55-11), which owns an .833 winning percentage. South Carolina (52-14) has won 13 straight NCAA Tournament games (sharing a record with three other programs), dating back to the 2010 College World Series championship run in Omaha.
Attendance for the game was 22,027, for an eight-game total of 172,916 and an average of 21,615 fans per game. Both the average and total attendance are “slightly ahead” of the same point last year, according to the NCAA.